Oct 25 2019

ADVISORY: PG&E will make the decision as to whether it will implement a Public Safety Power Shutoff in Piedmont on Saturday Morning, 10/26. If they choose to implement a PSPS, power would most likely be shut down Saturday Evening. Piedmont will provide additional information when it becomes available.

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Oct 25 2019

City Event to Showcase Piedmont Climate Challenge with “Ice on Fire” Film Screening

           “Ice on Fire,” an inspiring and stunning new documentary on climate change, will be featured at a free, city-wide event Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019, to showcase the Piedmont Climate Challenge.  The event, to be held at the Piedmont Community Hall from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m., is co-sponsored by the city of Piedmont, Piedmont Connect, and the Piedmont League of Women Voters.

The Piedmont Climate Challenge is a six-month, friendly competition launched in October to encourage Piedmont residents to take actions to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Challenge website,  

www.piedmontclimatechallenge.org,

 illustrates dozens of ways to reduce GHG at home, from simple and easy changes such as walking more and switching to LED lightbulbs, to more complex measures such as installing solar panels or a heat pump.

Piedmont residents are demonstrating strong interest in reducing their carbon footprint. Since the launch of the Challenge at Harvest Festival, nearly 100 residents have already signed up and are earning points for their teams, neighborhoods and community groups by taking climate action at home.

The Nov. 7 event is designed for participants to drop in for any part of the program that suits their schedule:

6 to 7 p.m.:  Delicious food for purchase from The Helping Food Truck and free refreshments;  time to mingle and learn about the Challenge.

7 p.m. Brief introductions by Piedmont Mayor Bob McBain, Connect Chair Susan Miller-Davis, and City staff;

7:10 to 8 p.m.:  Screening of the first half of “Ice on Fire,” produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio.

8 to 8:30 p.m.: More time for refreshments, mingling. and learning about the Challenge.

To attend the event, please register at piedmontclimatechallenge.splashthat.com or simply stop by!

City staff, as well as friends and neighbors who are serving as Climate Challenge “Ambassadors” will be on hand to talk about the Challenge, demo the website, and help residents sign up.

Piedmont has set a long-term goal to reduce the city’s overall greenhouse gases (GHG) by 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.  Since 80% of the city’s GHG emissions come from households — primarily transportation and home energy use — residents are crucial in reaching the goal.  The city’s short-term goal for the six-month Climate Challenge is to reduce GHG emissions by 1 million lbs., which can be achieved if 200 Piedmont households each reduce their GHG by 5,000 lbs.

Piedmont Connect Ambassadors include Sally Baack, Jonathan Becker, Liz Behrens,  Marj Blackwell , Moira Chapman,  Kara Christenson,  Jeff Dorman,  Debi Fitzgerrell ,  Claudia Harrison, Garrett Keating,  Judy Kelly, Ronna Kelly, Hugh Louch,  Samantha Miller,  Susan Miller-Davis, Margaret Ovenden,  Jina Saikia,  Julia Walsh, and Tom Webster.

Click announcement to enlarge.

Oct 24 2019

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has announced that they may conduct a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) which could include a majority of Piedmont as early as Saturday afternoon, October 26th.

The City urges all residents to be prepared in case their power goes out. This means that electricity to all residences, businesses, schools, mobile phone towers, and public facilities in the affected area may be turned off. This is the second in a series of Public Safety Power Shutoffs [PSPS]to be implemented this week and the second time in two weeks that Piedmont is slated to be affected by a PSPS.

Check the expected impact to your address > HERE.

PG&E proactively turns off lines in the interest of safety to help reduce the likelihood of an ignition when extreme fire danger conditions are forecasted. PSPS can accompany fire weather, so we encourage all residents to be prepared for wildfires and possible power outages.

To be ready for a Public Safety Power Shutoff event, please take the following steps.

1. Make sure PG&E has your current contact information. Update your contact information with PG&E online or call (866) 743-6589.

2. Check and update your emergency kit and supplies (include hard copies of critical information and life-saving prescriptions).

3. Identify a place you can go to cool off, if necessary.

4. Have a back-up charging system for cell phones and keep devices fully charged at all times.

5. Learn how to manually open your garage door.

6. Keep cash on hand (credit/debit stations, and ATMs may be without power).

7. Learn more about Public Safety Power Shutoffs in your area and work with your neighbors to make sure everyone is ready.

8. Stay informed during disasters and sign up for alerts.

See link below for additional information.

2019-10-24 Public Safety Power Shutoff Possible on 2019-10-26 – REVISED

PG&E will attempt to reach customers through calls, texts and emails using the contact information they have on file for your account. PG&E will also use their web site and social media channels, and we will keep local news and radio outlets informed and updated.

Residents and businesses who are enrolled in East Bay Community Energy will be affected by these Public Safety Power Shutoffs. The City of Piedmont has plans in place to ensure that emergency services are maintained during a Public Safety Power Shutoff, but affected residents will need to be self-reliant for a period of time.

For more information on how to be prepared for emergencies, please see the Public Safety Committee’s Get Ready, Piedmont brochure.

During a Public Safety Power Shutoff, please call 911 for emergencies only! We expect our emergency dispatchers to be busy answering phone calls, but they will not know when your power will be turned back on. The City of Piedmont has implemented plans to ensure that emergency services are maintained. As soon as we have information as to when power will be restored, we will post the information on the City website and our social media sites.

Contact: John O. Tulloch October 24, 2019 (510) 420-3040

Oct 24 2019

A Guide to Protecting Refrigerated and Frozen Foods in a Power Outage

Don’t Open the Doors

The simplest and most basic way to help your food survive an extended power outage is to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed.  According to the USDA, in a power outage, a refrigerator will stay cold for up to four hours, and a freezer will keep its temperature for 24 hours if it is half-full and 48 hours if it is full.  When power returns, it is tempting to open the refrigerator and check the food, but it is better to wait until the interior temperature is once more below 40 degrees, which will take hours.  Opening the doors prematurely will delay a return to normal refrigeration and can cause unnecessary additional food spoilage.

Put A Separate Thermometer in Your Refrigerator and Freezer

Many refrigerators only have settings to raise or lower the temperature, but don’t provide an actual temperature reading.  Keeping appliance thermometers inside your refrigerator and freezer allows you to monitor for proper cooling.  Your refrigerator should be at or below 40 ºF, and your freezer at or below 0 ºF.  Many refrigerators only have settings to raise or lower the temperature, but they don’t provide an actual temperature reading.

Keep Bottles of Water in Your Freezer

Keeping frozen bottles of water in your freezer will help keep frozen food cold longer, but  will also provide a supply of fresh drinking water.

If a Power Outage is Announced, Group Frozen Food

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends tightly compacting your freezer food if you are anticipating a power outage. This will help keep your food colder for a longer period of time.

If Announced Power Outage will be More Than 4 Hours, Transfer Foods to Freezer

Milk, meat, poultry and leftovers can be frozen and will defrost quickly when needed.  A freezer will keep its temperature for 24 hours if it is half-full and 48 hours if it is full.

Put Bags of Ice in Your Freezer

Making bags of ice will help maintain in Your Freezer’s temperature.

Buy Dry Ice when a Power Outage is Announced

Fifty pounds of dry ice will keep your freezer cold for up to two days.

Grill Food that is Thawing

Food that is beginning to thaw but is still at a safe temperature, can be cooked on the grill. Use a food thermometer to make sure each item is cooked to a safe internal temperature to kill any food-borne bacteria. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends a temperature of 145º F for beef, veal, lamb, pork and ham.  Poultry and ground meat mixtures should be cooked to 165º F

Further information available here.

Oct 24 2019

We all benefit by increased real estate values substantially created by our excellent
Piedmont Schools. Normally larger homes increase in value more than smaller
homes. A single progressive Per Square Foot of Building Tax, a PSFBT, is the best
tax solution for each of us to fairly contribute to our schools based on property
value increases.

PSFBT is used in Alameda since 2011, Emeryville since 2007, Berkeley since 2010, and W. Contra Costa since 2004. Instead our School District has chosen to keep our large regressive flat tax and add a small progressive PSFBT.

March 2013 the School District replaced the existing tax that had “a variety of
progressivity to it” (Board President Raushenbush 12/12/2012) with a
regressive flat rate tax. This resulted in 76% of Piedmont taxpayers on parcels less
than 10,000 square feet (“sf”) paying 6% to 21% more. However 24% of
taxpayers, owners of large parcels, commercial buildings and multi-unit buildings
pay 7% to 80% less. Some large parcels over 20,000 sf go untaxed.

The District commissioned a survey of voter preference. Presented April 24 2019 to
the School Board, the Final Ballot Result compared a single progressive PSFBT that
generates 125% of current revenue to a regressive flat rate tax at 115% of
revenue. The Survey concluded that 73.4% of Piedmont voters definitely/likely will
vote for a 125% progressive PSFBT. The 115% flat rate tax received 62.1%
support. 66.7% is needed to pass.

Initially, I suggested a 115% progressive PSFBT which would likely poll above 74%
and I’m disappointed by the District unfairly comparing a progressive 125%
revenue tax to a regressive 115% tax. Despite this headwind the progressive tax
polled 11.3% higher. Rather than follow voter preference the District created a two
tax Special Election at a cost of $125,000 versus General Election cost of $35,000.
Additionally, as Piedmont taxes and bond obligations are already as expensive as
any in the State and proper funding is critical for Piedmont Schools, the School Tax
conversation should be revisited every four years.

So what is the tax cost to homeowners of a single progressive per square foot of
building tax (“PSFBT”) versus Measures G and H? Proponents state “Measure G will
cost all homeowners $2,763 per year. The cost to homeowners for Measure H will
be 25 cents per square foot of their home.” Measure H generates an additional 25%
in revenue so a single $1.25 per square foot of building tax will generate the same
total revenue as Measures G and H. While I advocated a 115% revenue increase, I
will compare the tax cost of a 125% progressive PSFBT to Measures G and H:

House SF
Tax G Existing
Tax H  +25%
   Total 125%
PSFBT 125%
       2,736
$2,736
$684
$3,420
$3,420
 
 
 
 
 
       2,400
$2,736
$600
$3,336
$3,000
       2,100
$2,736
$525
$3,261
$2,625
       1,800
$2,736
$450
$3,186
$2,250
       1,500
$2,736
$375
$3,111
$1,875
       3,000
$2,736
$750
$3,486
$3,750
       4,000
$2,736
$1,000
$3,736
$5,000
       5,000
$2,736
$1,250
$3,986
$6,250

 

If your home is smaller than 2,763 square feet you will pay less under a single
progressive tax. The median size home in Piedmont is about 2,400 square feet. I
estimate that under a single progressive PSFBT 63% of homeowners will pay less
than with Measures G & H. Mindful of an excessive cost to large homes, Alameda
uses a $7,999 cap and I suggested a $4,999 cap in Piedmont.

Likely you are among the 76% who paid more after 2012 and are in a home smaller
than 2,763 square feet. Additionally according to the District’s own data 73.4% of
residents support a single progressive PSFBT School Tax.

Proponents state: “If Measures G and H do not pass, up to 100 teacher positions will be eliminated.” This outcome would be awful and fortunately our current tax runs through June 2021 so there will be no revenue loss should G and H fail. There will be no teacher eliminations.

Vote NO on Measures G & H so the District will put before us our preferred
choice: a single progressive tax.

Rick Schiller
Piedmont taxpayer

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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Oct 23 2019

“I hope we have the civic wisdom to evaluate and plan for the infrastructure changes necessary to accommodate the additional population ADUs [Accessory Dwelling Units] will generate over time; and also to guard against those who would exploit the issue to circumvent the principles articulated in our General Plan and Design Guidelines.”

First, the sour grapes: at its October 21, 2019 meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to overturn a denial of design permit by the Piedmont Planning Commission. A rare event. The decision was, in my opinion, based solely on political expediency centering on “ADUs” – an important civic consideration – that was a never part of the consideration by the Planning Commission and sets a problematic precedent for future residential development in our city.

Without relitigating the details of that decision, I’ll point out that seven separate Planning Commissioners- most leaders in their fields of architecture, design and the like, and Piedmont residents, voted against these similar designs on three occasions over a three year period of time- neighborhood opposition has been consistent throughout the process. For the reversal of the Commission’s decision, standing before the Council were: two Planning Commission nonresident Staff members,who opined on design elements and related matters outside their purview and not burdened by any evident qualifications, the applicant, one non-profit advocacy organization, and three non-neighbor character witnesses.

The advent of ADUs as a civic issue in our State and Piedmont is a legitimate one. I’m not sure there’s a housing crisis so much as an affordable housing crisis, but that’s almost beside the point- the fact is it’s political catnip today and not going away tomorrow. I hope we have the civic wisdom to evaluate and plan for the infrastructure changes necessary to accommodate the additional population those ADUs will generate over time; and also to guard against those who would exploit the issue to circumvent the principles articulated in our General Plan and Design Guidelines.

Philip Stein, Piedmont Resident

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Oct 23 2019

 

Chelle Putzer new Recreation Director

 Following a rigorous recruitment process, the City Council has selected Chelle Putzer as Recreation Director of the City of Piedmont.

Ms. Putzer was chosen unanimously by the Council from a field of 48 candidates. Her formal appointment will be considered at the City Council meeting of November 4, 2019. This selection follows interviews of six highly qualified candidates by a panel of staff and residents and the City Administrator. Following that process, the candidate field was narrowed to two, who were then interviewed by the full City Council. Ms. Putzer’s selection by the City Council was unanimous and all agreed that she will be a great asset to the community and the Recreation Department.

Ms. Putzer holds a Bachelor of Science in Health & Sport Sciences from the University of Oklahoma. For nearly six years, she has served as Recreation and Community Services Director for the City of Albany. Prior to this, she spent an additional ten years in Albany as a Recreation & Community Services Manager and Supervisor. She has also served as head softball coach at St. Mary’s College, assistant softball coach at San Jose State University, and a volunteer assistant softball coach at Stanford University.

“We are very excited to have Ms. Putzer join the Piedmont Recreation team,” said Mayor Robert McBain. “Her great experience and proven track record of leadership will help our Recreation Department continue to provide excellent programming for all ages.”

“Chelle will be a tremendous addition to the City team and will no doubt be a strong leader for the Recreation Department,” said City Administrator Sara Lillevand. “Her experience and success as the director in Albany, another small city in Alameda County, will translate well to Piedmont. I also want to recognize the commitment and significant efforts of Interim Recreation Director Erin Rivera who will remain in that role until Chelle begins in December. Erin has been and will continue to be an integral part of PRD’s leadership throughout the transition and beyond.”

“I am honored and excited to have been selected as Piedmont’s Recreation Director,” Ms. Putzer said. “I am looking forward to serving in such a wonderful, engaged and supportive community and joining Piedmont’s outstanding Recreation Department.”

Oct 19 2019

The Piedmont City Council will meet on Monday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue. The meeting will be broadcast live on the City website and Cable Channel 27.  Recordings of the meetings are available on the City website.

Ceremonial Items

Presentation of Proclamation Regarding Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Presentation of Proclamation Regarding Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Regular Agenda

  1. Approval of Council Meeting Minutes for 09/03/19 and 09/16/19
  2. PUBLIC HEARING Regarding an Appeal of the Planning Commission’s Decision to Deny an Application for a Design Review Permit for an Accessory Structure at 89 Maxwelton Road (Read staff report)   Staff recommends that the Council overrule the Planning Commission’s denial of a design review permit for a new accessory unit.
  3. Consideration of a Resolution Authorizing the City Administrator to Sign an Agreement with East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) for Cost Sharing Associated with Pavement Restoration on Sunnyside, Olive, and Oakland Avenues   (Read staff report.)  The City’s maximum share includes the base amount of $152,251, as well as a contingency amount of an additional 10% to cover any potential unanticipated overruns, bringing the total maximum amount to $167,476.  The paving is in connection with the pipeline replacement project.  EBMUD is scheduled to begin this project on 10/21/19 at 7am on Sunnyside, Oakland and Olive Ave.
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Oct 15 2019

We are proud to be co-chairing the Yes on Measures G&H campaign. Since 1985, Piedmont has passed school support tax measures eight consecutive times. These school support taxes are one of the main reasons that Piedmont continues to have outstanding schools, ranking as among the best in California on student achievement.

There are several reasons why the Piedmont schools need to pass Measures G&H. Piedmont schools receive less state funding per student than neighboring districts because they have fewer students who are in special categories that get extra state funding. For example, Piedmont receives about $2,000 less per student than Oakland Unified School District and about $1,000 less per student than Berkeley Unified School District. In addition, Piedmont has only a few small businesses, and therefore can’t rely on revenues from businesses or donations from large companies. State funding for education is unreliable and has not grown fast enough to keep pace with rising costs, especially rising cost of living for teachers. Therefore, Measures G&H are critical for maintaining high quality schools in Piedmont.

We are fortunate to live in a community that values education and that has passed school parcel taxes consistently for over 30 years. All of the money raised by our community stays in Piedmont to support our students. This local funding helps keep class sizes small, and maintains a range of programs in math, science, technology, and the arts, as well as advanced placement classes, counseling and libraries. This range of programs prepares students for college and careers, and keeps them engaged.

Overall, Piedmont teachers are paid less than teachers in many surrounding schools districts. The average Piedmont teacher has a lower salary than the average teacher in San Ramon, Emeryville, Albany, Union City, and Dublin. Piedmont has lost 22 teachers in the last two years, simply due to cost of living issues. The purpose of Measure H is to address this issue by providing compensation strategies to help recruit and retain high quality teachers.

Together, Measures G&H will provide nearly 30% of our district’s budget and will help maintain the excellence of our Piedmont schools. The strength of our schools helps to protect property values for everyone in Piedmont, not just the residents whose kids attend the schools. For more information about Measures G&H, please visit yesongandh.org.

Hilary Cooper

Doug Ireland

Christine Wente von Metzsch

Editors Note: PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors. 

Oct 14 2019

News coverage against Measure H, “No on Piedmont’s school tax increase,” was published in the East Bay Times, the former Oakland Tribune.  Click below to access the full article.

“Voters in the Nov.  5 special election should approve Measure G, which would extend what district officials have said is the largest parcel tax in the state.  But voters should reject Measure H, which would add a new one. “

“This district isn’t suffering.  At a certain point, residents need to ask district officials how much is enough.”

  https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2019/10/12/editorial-piedmont-voters-should-reject-increase-to-record-tax/

Local Measures
Measure G Parcel Tax Renrewal — Piedmont Unified School District (2/3 Approval Required)
To maintain the high quality of education in Piedmont schools, continue funding programs in math, science, technology, engineering, English, music, and arts, keep textbooks and instructional technology up to date, maintain smaller class sizes, and attract and retain qualified teachers, shall the Piedmont Unified School District renew its expiring parcel tax at an annual rate of $2,763 per parcel for 8 years, providing 10.8 million dollars annually, with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local?
Measure H Parcel Tax Increase — Piedmont Unified School District (2/3 Approval Required)
To provide critically needed funding to attract and retain high quality teachers and educational support staff, shall the Piedmont Unified School District levy a tax of $0.25 per square foot of building improvements, providing 2.6 million dollars annually in dedicated funding for Piedmont schools for 8 years, with independent citizen oversight and all money staying local?
Editors’ Note: PCA does not support or oppose ballot measures.
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